解析库 > PPPlus
Controversy over the genre of biography is far from new. Stanley Fish recently dismissed the entire genre, claiming that because biographers deal in facts but must supply interpretations of those facts to create narratives, biographers are, in effect, writing fiction. Shortly thereafter, biographer Edmund Morris published his biography of Ronald Reagan, which seems to embrace the idea of biographer as fiction writer: Morris, who had not known Reagan personally, wrote himself into the biography as Reagan`s fictional companion and fictionalized many events of Reagan`s life as well. Indeed, the practice of inserting imaginary "facts" into biographies to serve a higher truth has a long history. Parson Weems`s famously apocryphal story of George Washington and the cherry tree, which appeared in the fifth edition (1806) of Weems`s The Life and Memorable Actions of George Washington, canonized this practice on a popular level. Nineteenth-century scholars such as Jared Sparks denounced such fictions and spurned the use in biography of popular lore, even including what we today might call legitimate oral history. Yet Sparks himself modified Washington`s grammar and opinions in his emendations of Washington`s correspondence, thereby engendering further controversy among critics.